By Alton Mitchell
It has been one year since the Chambers County community was rocked by a savage murder that unfolded in a shallow Valley creek. In the year since the discovery of a young Georgia woman’s body in Osanippa Creek, her family has not forgot the victim and took time out to not mark the one year anniversary of her death with tears and pain, but to gather and celebrate the life of the woman that many believe was taken too soon.
A massive crowd gathered at Parkhill cemetery in Columbus, Ga on Thursday July 7th to mark the one year anniversary of the death of Renee Eldridge. Eldridge went missing on July 4th, 2015 after spending her Fourth of July celebrating in the bar and nightclub scene of Columbus. Investigators believe at some point in the early morning hours of July 5th she was taken from her home near downtown Columbus. On July 7th her body was discovered under a bridge near Osanippa Creek in Valley, Alabama.
Investigators believe the 25-year-old Eldridge was taken by 45-year-old Stacey Demar Gray who was known associate of the family. Investigators believe Gray brought the young woman to the bridge and murdered her. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma. Gray was arrested days after the discovery of Eldridge’s body. He is currently housed in the Chambers County Jail in LaFayette on charges of murder. He was indicted on those charges this past February, a trial date has not yet been set for Gray.
Rather than dwell on the tragic events of her final days on earth family and friends gathered by her gravesite at the large cemetery to share the good memories of Eldridge and to offer each other hugs and laughs rather than somber memories. Towards the end of the memorial celebration those in attendance released several dozen purple and white balloons into the sky in memory of Eldridge. Those in attendance state that they were two of her favorite colors.